My Technology: Love machine

It's good-looking, stylish, easy to use and brilliant. Writer Tony Parsons talks about his love affair with the iMac
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The Independent Culture
I bought my iMac earlier this year, and I have fallen in love. It's revolutionary, sexy and beautiful - everything that I never thought a computer could be. I would like to have an iMac in all five of the colours. When I heard rumours that the iMac was soon to add banana and cherry flavours to the existing five, it was as if Linda Evangelista had asked me out on a date, I got so excited.

When I see it in the morning I feel a pang of affection, a happiness that I never felt when working at the old beige computer terminal, which was kind of embarrassing-looking. You feel like stroking its round curves as you might stroke a baby kitten. It's a lovely object to have. In the Eighties, people bought Philippe Starck tables; today it's the iMac.

It has brought grace to working at a computer, which is a huge leap forward. As a creative person I wouldn't think of using anything else. You could say that I'm having my second honeymoon with Apple computers.

It's not just looks and style; it's also a brilliant piece of machinery. I have been using Macintosh computers for the past 15 years, and I am a Mac fan. I have always found them really easy to work with, which was not the case with my son's PC - that was Chinese water torture.

And yes, the iMac is as easy as the advert says - as simple as three steps: one, two, three. You open the box and inside you get a picture that illustrates how to plug it in. It's better than a directory-sized instruction manual no one would ever read. The iMac is designed to usher you gently through all the fear barriers in the technology.

I use it to run my million-dollar career on. Part of the push to get the iMac was some journalism I was doing for Gear magazine, which is published in America. After noticing that they could go for days without checking the fax machine to see whether copy had arrived, I realised that my career couldn't work unless I went online. I had to send copy by e-mail or otherwise be considered a bit of a Neanderthal.

Before the iMac, the Net had seemed to me a place for amateur pornographers and haggard masturbators. But now I order flowers online, buy books that you wouldn't be able to get in Britain, and do research, which can be such a joy.

When I was writing Man and Boy on the iMac I would kick back and perhaps go to the Amazon book site or Arsenal, in the same way you might flick through a magazine. I am not really interested in playing games on the iMac; I'd rather go to some smelly arcade in Soho.

In terms of electronic media, however, I think the best sites to find something to read are the ones like America's satirical magazine The Onion, which you can't buy over here. Otherwise, I would buy the magazine in its traditional print format.

Something I have found fascinating is reading reviews of my book by punters on the Amazon site. Book reviews usually come from members of my own profession, and in comparison with ones from jaded, bored, sated and embittered hacks, the punters' opinions seem in many ways a more honest appraisal.

The Net is another world. For instance, the other day I was writing something on George Mallory, the man whose body was discovered on Everest, where he died in 1924, and on the Net I found a photograph of his frozen body. It's research in a way that I could never have imagined.

And I don't know how I have lived without e-mail - I use it to keep in touch with one of my best friends, who edits a newspaper in Canada.

It's as if we were both still working in the same building at Canary Wharf.

It reminds me of the first time that I ever went scuba-diving. That makes it sound trippy, but at the moment, the Net is still uncontrolled, and it really does seem like a new frontier. But you sense that there needs to be some way of keeping an eye on what is on the Net.

I do think that technology advances so fast that old technology can be made redundant - and it's unnecessary. I am against this happening in principle. It's negative to reject anything old just because something new comes along.

Interview by

Jennifer Rodger

`Man and Boy' is published by HarperCollins, price pounds 12.99

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